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Notified of layoff 12/31 but need LTD now Massachusetts

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  • Notified of layoff 12/31 but need LTD now Massachusetts

    I work for a company that has changed job titles. They are laying off two groups of employees despite the fact that the "new" job titles contain very similiar job requirements to those being performed now, including my own. Although we can "interview" for these new positions, we'll probably be laid off first. We have to compete with outside applicants and no difference is being given to current people except that some employees within these groups have already been given the "new" titles without being laid off.

    Our termination agreements will not be signed until Dec. 31st per instructions from the company and we're actively employed until then. I am still paying for Long Term Disability @ 40% of my pay and paying extra for 60% LTD out of pocket over and above the company's short term disability benefit. We've actually signing up for benefits for 2010 and I continued this arrangement. Although I realize that companies can lay you off while on disability, can I still claim disability up to the point of termination and then what happens after that termination date? Because I am still paying and they are deducting these monies from my check, is it my right to assume that the benefit is in place?

    My x-ray indicates possible breast cancer...how will this effect me if I'm forced to leave work now for disability and can they also eliminate me from rehire to these "new" positions if I'm on disability? Do I sign their termination agreement at the end of December to get my few weeks of severance? I'm desparate to know what to do at this point.

  • #2
    The LTD plan document determines whether or not benefits continue after the layoff. No one who has not read the plan document can say for certain. However, it would be uncommon to the point of being almost unheard of for disability benefits to end when employment does.

    Collecting disabilty benefits does not grant you any protections over and above what other employees have. You have exactly the same right to rehire as any other employee. Please note that the law does not give ANY employee a guaranteed right to rehire unless a legally binding contract or CBA says you have one.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      It would be nice if the employer rehired laid off employees first before considering outside applicants but they are not required to (except as noted above - there is a binding employment contract or CBA guaranteeing being hired first).
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        So, if I understand you correctly, my disability benefit will continue even if the employment ends on 12/31.

        Do you think I should sign the termination agreement as of 12/31 to obtain severence and/or unemployment even if I'm on disability?

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        • #5
          Please take note: I have not read your LTD plan. I cannot say with certainty what will and will not happen. What I can say is that IF your benefits end with employment, it is very much the exception and not the rule.

          Likewise, I have not read the agreement you have been offered and therefore cannot offer an opinion on whether you SHOULD sign it. All I can say is that nothing you have posted suggests that there is any detriment to signing it. Please take note of the fact that refusing to sign the agreement will not save your job and will most likely only result in your losing both job and severance.

          You will not be able to collect UI while you are medically unable to work.

          DO NOT make your decisions based on what an internet bulletin board tells you. If you are not certain of what rights you are retaining/losing, take all the associated documentation to a MA attorney. We can only give you general information and guess at the probabilities; we CANNOT give you specific legal advice.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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          • #6
            Thank you

            I realize the limitations you're under, but I truly appreciate your responses. I will seek out the advice of an attorney and find out what my options are. If I cannot get UI then I hope my LTD will not go away. Also, I'll have to find out what my options are regarding COBRA but I'll still be laid off so I'm hoping that I'll have that and get some help from the government. Given that there is a 6 week severence following our termination date, I hope that the LTD will remain in place. Again, I'll have to bring the agreement to an attorney to find out what I'm up against. Thank you.

            Comment

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